Health insurance extras13 Feb 13 03:21PM EST |
Like many Australians over 30, I have private health insurance. Although I’m healthy, the tax man’s arm-twisting makes a compelling argument for me to have it.
I’m on a comparatively cheaper “young singles” plan, but even that’s a pretty hefty drain on my wallet.
(Yeah, yeah – I know I’m no longer a “young single”, but I don’t need a hip replacement or fertility treatment, so it seems the best option for me.)
Like most insurance, while I feel better for having it, I don’t get much love in return. My hospital cover reduces the tax man’s bite, but the extras – well, they don’t do much at all. I wear glasses and contacts, I need the dentist from time to time and occasionally I’ll pay a visit to a physio or osteo.
But the internet is changing the way people manage their health needs.
A pair of glasses in Australia can easily set you back $300-400, and then there are the contacts I wear every day.
A recent trip to the optometrist saw me with a prescription update. So it was online for me, and a short time and $90-odd later I had ordered a pair of glasses from a US site.
I lost the health insurance refund but I was still ahead on what I’d pay if I bought glasses here and made a claim. Best of all was the almost-instant gratification – I ordered them on Thursday night and I was wearing them by the following Monday morning.
The same goes for contacts – I pay at least $10 more per box for them in Australia than they cost online, cancelling out any savings from my health fund. So when an email landed in my inbox just after Christmas offering contacts for sale from the US with free delivery and an extra $20 off the already lower US price, I jumped at it.
I’d happily outsource my dental offshore too, except I don’t
need anything done.
However, a reconnaissance trip somewhere exotic with good dental care does sound tempting…
So what does my health insurance get me? A quick check shows I’m getting back more or less what I pay, although how that looks a year from now - when a full year of nasty tax surprises is part of the mix - is something I’ll be keeping an eye on.
In the meantime, I think it’s time I did a health check on my other insurance policies.